Safari in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana travel blog

Vervet monkey

Great Zimbabwe Lodge

In the passageway at the citadel

The Citadel


Nearby Village

In the "king's chair"


"Woman's Compound"

Female symbol

Wall detail

Inside the woman's compound. Note thickness of wall.

School kids going to village event

Up at 6:00 and pack up the Red Elephant and drive off to the Great Zimbabwe Monument Park. Stop near a pavilion to make breakfast. A pack of Verdant Monkeys showed up begging for food. They were quite interesting but the guides didn’t like them much - a bother to everybody who comes there. We got Ernest, our monument guide. A cup of coffee. I chatted with him a bit about politics and he said he had given the tour to Mandela, Queen Elizabeth, and Prince Charles.

We finished breakfast and started walking to the monument. A long and winding path led to the Great Zimbabwe ruins. Lots of curved passages. Stones in three types - rough to fine. The further up you went the more fine they became. The passages were quite winding for defence and there were several walls - the furthest one out to separate the elite form the peseants.

At the top of the monument Ernest pointed out the chair of the king, the chamber of the counselors (in the shape of a woman, and the grave site of the kings. We got ion top of one of the ledges to take a group picture. Then we wound out way down the hill to the queen’s enclosure.

The whole time we were on the monument there were drums and music from below - a Zimbabwe cultural festival was underway. Lots of school kids and others were there (we learned later was a talent show of sorts). Quite a nice backdrop.

Nicole and I ran out to try to get a picture of the festival then couldn’t find the group we wandered around the enclosure for a bit but no luck. Eventually found them just in time to be shown the “Breasts and vagina” structure, as well as the “practice plot” where women practiced sex. Ernest sort of lost credibility when he stated that the life expectance of the folks in the 1300s was 90 to 120… Seemed like he as making a lot of stuff up.

We headed back to the red elephant and said helot to innumerable school kids before we boarded the red elephant and headed out.

Stopped for lunch under a tree and had a couple other stops for ”Bushy Bushy” during the very long drive (6 hours or so). We finally got to the city and after a bit headed to the reserve,. We saw more monkeys, Impala, and zebras on the way and maybe a rhino.

We arrived at the lodge an out bag was there! Woot! Everything was find except now we had lots of excess clothing. Anyway, good to have the stuff. We looked around the camp for a bit then showered and changed then headed out for dinner. Spaghetti with meat sauce and a cinnamon cake with custard for dessert. After we got a bottle of wine (from the main house) and sat around a nice camp fire and chatted about everything from language to dialects. Finally off to bed.

Before bed I tried to write up the journal on the small computer but the backspace and dash doesn’t work so lots of errors that I hope to correct later. Long day and early tomorrow.

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